Food bank to get better home after razing
Sometime next year, when weather is good for construction, a new Marion County Resource Center and Food Bank will be built at the corner of Cedar and Main Sts. in Marion.
Marion Advancement Campaign closed the purchase Friday of a building that formerly housed a beauty shop and a rental house.
MAC treasurer and liaison for the food bank Gene Winkler said the plan is to take the existing building completely down and start new with two buildings that will better fit the food bank’s needs.
The building now on the site is in poor condition and the building where the food bank now operates doesn’t have enough space or the best design.
“We’re going to demolish it,” Winkler said.
Winkler expects demolition work to begin by the end of this month.
One building will be for storage and the other for distribution. Each will be 25x50’.
The new buildings will eliminate volunteers having to carry boxes of food upstairs into a storage area and downstairs to the distribution area.
“It will really help the volunteers,” MAC vice president Todd Heitschmidt said. “Most of the volunteers are not youngsters. Their abilities are not what they might have been a decade or two ago.”
The added storage space will be a great help as well.
“We can’t order enough stuff from the Kansas Food Bank because there isn’t enough storage,” Winkler said.
Winkler said the new location works well because it’s not too far from the present site. Some food bank users walk, so their trip won’t suddenly become too far to get there.
Winkler said when the food bank started out in a room of Valley United Methodist Church, it served about 100 people a month.
Now it serves about 700 people a month.
The COVID-19 epidemic has driven up demand as well, between people losing their incomes and people being quarantined and needing help.
The food bank has thought about finding a new location for over a year.
“We were thinking that when we were able to build, we’d have some place people can come in and sit down and wait their turn,” he said.
Now operations will likely remain the drive-through service because it’s easier on volunteers and popular with clients, he said.
Now that the purchase is done, the next step will be seeking grant money for the building project.
Anyone wanting to donate toward the new building can contact Gene Winkler at (620) 382-7111.